With summer upon us here in San Diego, we are sure to hear about water safety, second hand drowning, and unfortunately babies left in hot cars. Those are all scary. The fact that they can happen is scary. These events do not mean that you are a bad parent, they just mean that someone made a mistake. As the days heat up, many San Diegans are fearful of forgetting their precious new bundle in the car, and they have good reason why.
A new baby is a change in routine. How many times have you gotten up, ready for the day, into your car, driven to work, you get out, and do your job? Probably a million and one times. Changing the routine to include a preschool drop off can be forgotten, simply because it’s different. It does not mean you forgot about your child.
In fact- if your baby is still itty-bitty you’re possibly pretty sleep deprived. When I’m tired, I’m not myself- I’m going to assume that you probably aren’t either. Some new parents make the entire drive to work, go up to their office, and realize that they forget to put on pants before leaving the house. So it’s not too far off to assume that sleep makes us forgetful. Speaking of forgetful, let’s not forget the very real ‘mommy brain’. Your hormones are going to take a while to go back to normal. Some faster than others, but be easy on yourself.
When I taught in preschool, we called parents. If you had a new baby enrolled, and you didn’t show up for drop off at your normal time, we would give you a call. “Just checking in, we hope all is well in your house today!” A friendly reminder, because it’s sad, but a sleeping baby in the backseat of a tired parent’s car, can be overlooked.
If you are extra sensitive, or fearful, here are some of the precautions you can take.
- Leave your purse in your backseat. This will force you to go back there and see your smiling baby.
- Leave a note on your window. Sticky notes work great. When you get out of your car you’ll see that note “BABY!” and you’ll instantly remember.
- Use some of the awesome products. I’ve seen some great products to remind you, like a tether that goes from your handle to baby’s car seat.
- Tie a ribbon to your handle. Similar to a ribbon around your finger- they are pretty good at helping you remember.
- Set an alarm on your phone. If you are a scheduled person you’ll probably be out the door at about the same time, so set an alarm for when you would usually be dropping off.